Jan 30, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: The stock market is loving the Federal Reserve's announcement that it would not raise interest rates.

  • Policymakers changed the closely watched policy statement to reflect that the central bank is in "wait-and-see" mode as it considers future rate hikes.
1 big thing: The price of everything

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Howard Schultz sounded stumped today when asked the price of a staple that wasn’t coffee — a reminder of the campaign-trail hazards for billionaires trying to project a common touch. 

  • Mika Brzezinski to Schultz on MSNBC's "Morning Joe": “How much does an 18 ounce box of Cheerios cost?"
  • Schultz: "An 18 ounce box of Cheerios? I don’t eat Cheerios."
  • Spoiler ... They're about 4 bucks at Walmart.

Flashbacks:

The big picture: Billionaires may be unlikely to know what a grocery item costs, and their actions as president would have limited effects on prices, Axios deputy managing news editor Justin Green points out.

But they should know the broader trends in the costs that most Americans face.

  1. Health care: How much has the average health insurance deductible for a family of four changed over the past 5 years? How about copays?
  2. Education: What's the average price of tuition at a public 4-year university? How much has this outpaced inflation over the past few decades?
  3. Kids: What's the average cost of child care in your home state? Is this a greater share of take-home income than it was 10 years ago? 20?
  4. The youths: What percentage of 25-year-olds have more than $50,000 in student debt? What percentage of 25-year-olds have purchased a home? How do these compare to 10 years ago?
  5. Housing: How much of the average American's monthly paycheck goes to rent or a mortgage?
  6. Rainy day funds: How many months of living expenses does the average American have in liquid savings?

Why it matters: “[T]he next president will have to demonstrate not only that he or she understands the day-to-day struggles that people are facing, but they also have to lay out a clear plan to address those problems," Center for American Progress SVP Daniella Gibbs Léger told Axios.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Red deer graze in the snow in Glen Etive, Scotland.

2. What you missed
  1. Foxconn is reconsidering its plans to manufacture flatscreen panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin plant that promised to bring in 13,000 jobs. Go deeper.
  2. The private sector added 213,000 jobs in January, topping the 178,000 that economists had expected, according to ADP's national employment report. Go deeper.
  3. Apple cut off iPhone-using Facebook employees' access to their employer's internal apps today as fallout spread from yesterday's report of a cash-for-data "research" program by Facebook that broke Apple's rules. Go deeper.
  4. JPMC CEO Jamie Dimon says he has "no problem paying higher taxes to address some of the fundamental challenges and inequities in our society," but that government spending must be efficient. Go deeper.
  5. The Democratic-controlled House voted to give federal employees a pay raise of 2.6%. Go deeper.
3. 1 robot thing
iRobot Terra lawn mower (Elise Amendola/AP)

The company behind the Roomba has built a robotic lawnmower, AP reports.

Why it matters: "American lawn culture also sets a higher bar for what a cut should look like: straight, back-and-forth lines are prized."

  • "The quiet, electric-power mower sports a pair of tri-blade mulchers that are meant to work slowly on a lawn — instead of the typical once-a-week cut with a push mower, it can maneuver around a lawn daily or a few times a week — and returns to its station when complete."
  • "Users can schedule the machine with a phone app; if it runs down on juice while moving, it will return to its dock to recharge, then resume where it left off. Along with the radio technology, it has a variety of other sensors to avoid tin cans and other unexpected debris."

What's next: "The mowers will go on sale in the U.S. in 2020 after an invite-only beta launch later this year."

Mike Allen